I am a residential designer, who has been designing and drawing plans for new homes, remodels and additions for 32 years. I bring the female perspective to what has been a predominately male world. I approach home design with a strong sense of functionality, individuality and an instinctual feeling for "home". I believe that we all have our own definition for "home" and that the key to finding comfort and peace in a living space is connecting to that definition, designing it and creating it.
The first question most people ask me is, "where do I start?" The first place to start a home design of any kind, whether it is a new home, a remodel or an addition, is within yourself. What are your motivating factors for creating a living space? Most people expect living spaces to provide shelter, protection, safety and some level of comfort. Living spaces can also be a monitary investment, a status symbol, a money pit, a work of art, reproduction architecture, earth-friendly, durable, highly energy efficient...... The discription list could be endless. What you want to aim for is something YOU want, fulfills your needs, addresses your desires and embraces your lifestyle.
Designing a new home is the first step in building a new home. Ideally, you would like to avoid designing as you build. Small details can be designed during construction, but the majority of the house should be designed and documented before construction begins. The home design is the launching pad for getting cost estimates on materials and labor, it is the basis for obtaining financing and appraisals and the drawings and related documents are what binding contracts with contractors are based on. If this step is not well thought out or is lightly brushed over, there will most likely be difficulties, often expensive ones, during the building process.
Designing and building a custom home is not like buying a new car. You can not decide to build a new home on Friday and pick a plan out of a book on Saturday and expect to start digging on Monday. Many hours of consideration should go into this decision to build or remodel a home. I have devoloped ten steps you should consider when designing your own home. These steps are designed to get you thinking about your living space and how to work with a designer.
I highly recommend that you hire a design professional to do the actual design and construction drawings that will be used to build the home. They will bring clarity of design concepts to the project and an ability to visualize in 3-d; two major design elements that most homeowners really need help with. Before you contact a builder or designer, work through these ten steps and make sure you are comfortable with your decision.
Next Post: Steps one & two